Seven aspirants, all of whom hope to become the next Chair of the Democratic Party, are meeting in Phoenix today for the first of four national forums to introduce themselves to America. It doesn't take the likes of a Sherlock Holmes to deduce rather quickly that the collection of individuals are, at their core, real Democrats. The group includes a politically active housewife, a Muslim, an Hispanic, and a first-generation American. Three members of the assemblage are black, two are female, and the two white (non-Hispanic) males are both gay.
It would be hard to envision a slice of America more diversified and more likely to be Democrats than this bunch who are meeting today in Phoenix.
The front-runners for the august position appear to be Keith Ellison, a congressman from Minnesota who was the first Muslim elected to Congress and a former supporter of Bernie Sanders, and Tom Perez, an Hispanic who serves as President Obama's Secretary of Labor and was a Hillary supporter in the primaries. Perez is reportedly President Obama's horse in this race.
Sally Boynton Brown is a housewife and mother of three who serves at the Executive Director of Idaho's Democratic Party and is President of the Association of State Democratic Executive Directors. When she entered the race to head the DNC, she was the only woman running, and that seemed to be the focal point of her campaign.
Now, however, there are two women vying for the position. Jehmu Greene, a Fox News Analyst with a history of social activism is also in the race. Ms. Greene, the daughter of Liberian immigrants, is a person who takes her democratic rights seriously.
The other three contenders are Jaime Harrison, Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party and a protege of Rep. Jim Clyburn, Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and an Afghanistan War veteran, and Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Buttigieg and Buckley are both openly gay.
Somehow, a portion of the American public will study this group and come away with opinions on which one should actually head the party as it tries to heal itself and regroup for the upcoming electoral challenges. Hopefully they will be able to convey those opinions to the actual members of the Democratic National Committee who will then select their next leader. If that happens, and if the Party listens, Americans have an opportunity to have a bit of ownership in the organization which will ultimately decide who tries to knock out Trump in Round Two - scheduled for 2020.
My own thoughts on the subject are these: although I love Barack Obama and always will, he selected the last Democratic Chair - the disaster named Debbie Wasserman Schultz whose heavy-handedness and un-democratic behaviors lost us the election of 2016. I am hesitant, therefore, to stand quietly by and watch him try to select the party's next chair. Bernie has more right to do that than Obama.
But Bernie's candidate, Mr. Ellison, has issues as well.
What the party actually needs is someone with street smarts and an uncanny ability to organize people from the precinct level on up. Barack Obama would fit that bill himself - and his acceptance of the job of rebuilding the party would be a stellar way to atone for the Wasserman-Schultz fiasco.
Take the job, Barack, and then make those seven wannabes your deputies and regional organizers. January 21st is our day one - and it's time to get moving!